Seafood Company Faces Fines After Fatality

OSHA has cited a New Bedford, Mass., seafood processor for allegedly failing to protect its employees against carbon monoxide and confined space hazards.

Carlos Seafood Inc. was fined $46,000 after an inspection prompted by the November death of an employee who was fatally overcome by carbon monoxide fumes while using a gasoline-powered pressure washer to clean the inside of a water tank in a fishing boat docked at Leonard's Wharf in New Bedford.

OSHA found that the deceased employee and two other workers allegedly were exposed to excess levels of carbon monoxide while working in the tank and that the company failed to implement controls to reduce those exposure levels.

The company also allegedly:

  • Lacked procedures and equipment for employees to work safely in confined spaces.
  • Did not train employees on working in confined spaces.
  • Did not identify and post danger signs for the tank and other confined spaces in the workplace.
  • Did not have a program in place covering employees' proper training on and use of respirators.

“Working in confined spaces is extremely hazardous, which makes it imperative that all required safeguards be effectively in place and in use before employees enter one of these potentially deadly work areas,” said Robert Hooper, OSHA's acting area director for southeastern Massachusetts. “These requirements are thorough and stringent because their purpose is to prevent accidents like this one from happening in the first place.”

Carlos Rafael, the company's owner, declined to comment.

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